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Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Mossjoh, Feb 1, 2002.
Anyone know a good and easy way to memorize the structures of all 20 amino acids??
study them by class, for starters; hydrophobic, hydrophilic, amphipathic, etc. Then just suck it up and memorize those structures! Just memorize the side chains. BTW, I didn't have one question where they didn't give us the structure and name on the MCAT...fyi...
Break them into groups (i.e. polar, nonpolar, cationic, anionic) and memorize them according to their groups. This will help later when you have to figure out how each will exist in different pHs.
Funny how we posted the same thing at the same time, Joseph. By the way, they do just give you one or the other on shelf exams and the boards...
I forgot to mention this. I think one of my questions had to do with unusual amino acids. Which of the following proteins are you likely to find hydroxyproline, etc. I think they're covered in your MCAT prep stuff.
just group them in an orderly way.
Start with the non-polar
glycine, alanine, valine, leucine, isoleucine
then two with sulfur
cysteine and methionine
serine and threonine
glutamic acid and aspartic acid
two amide equivalents
glutamine and aparagine
lysine, arginine, histidine
phenylalanine, tyrosine, tryptophan
Draw them over and over. Practice, practice, practice. I suggest learning them in groups, but that's just my way. I think it makes them easier to remember.
yep, that's the one, SocialistMD.
Sorry, I thought you were asking.
i did just like bjc said... then just draw them over and over again. Try to draw all 20, then check your answers... then try again
I'm not even sure I can explain how I did it... but I'll try. First, I wrote out each one, (structure, name, abreviation and letter) on flash cards. Then I separated them according to non-polar, polar and charged. Glycine and Alanine I just memorized, Valine's carbons look like a V, Leucine sounds like Valine and is a V with an extra carbon, Isoleucine is Iso, Methionine has 4 syllables and three carbons and a sulfer, which lands on "O" in Meth-i-o-nine. Serine sounds like serene, and alcohol (OH) makes me serene...
I think it all matters how you think. I don't think there is an easy way. Make associations with the shapes and sounds that make sense to you, and practice, practice, practice. Good Luck!
Bjc, I like the way you think! Wish I'd figured that out...
I used GAVLIMP-PT for the non-polar ones (some guy named Gav with a limp gets some physical therapy). The groups can be remembered by shape and increasing in complexity:
Glycine (no group)
Alanine (one methyl)
Valine (isopropyl -- looks like a V if drawn right)
Leucine (CH2 attached to isopropyl -- might look like an L)
Isoleucine (the only appropriate isomer of the leucine chain)
Methionine (methyl and a thiol (Sulfur))
Proline (has the 'P'entagon)
Phenalalanine (easy one - Alanine with a Phenyl group)
Tryptophan (has a ph in it, a pentagon next to a hexagon)
The polar ones remember 'AGST-CT' and all the 'AnGST' you had to go through to study for 'mCaT':
Asparagine - (like that top of an A)
Glutamine - (like asparagine only longer)
Serine - (so 'S'imple to draw)
Threonine - (like serine, just add a methyl)
Cysteine - (like the cross on the Cysteine Chapel, jesuS is on it)
Tyrosine - (has a big round tyre in it)
For the ionic ones remember that ugly girl at the UCLA interview, you know, the L.A. HAG:
Lysine - (Lysine is long)
Arginine - (square root of nine is 3 - 3N's in this one)
Histidine - (a double-walled House)
Aspartic Acid - (replace the amide in Asparagine with acid)
Glutamic Acid - (replace the amide in Glutamine with acid)
Hope this helps...good luck...
Good one, mpp! Now all I can think of is L.A. HAG...lol
Thanks for the tip Joseph, but I've already taken the MCAT and got into medical school. This is for my biochem class. I had never memorized them before, just looked them up if I needed to know one. Now I need to memorize all 20 structures. I don't think it will be that hard, each one is basically the same, just an added side chain.
When I started, I went by GAVLIP (Met is polar, the sulfur has some electronegative character). This eventually got me started as far as memorization. I think the best way to memorize them is to do like others have said - write out the whole thing. Staring at them won't quite get it done. The more you write them and associate the name with the structure you're writing, you'll find you're remembering them. One thing you may find helpful is to not remember them by groups. This way you'll force yourself to remember what's what. Make 20 flash cards with just the name on them. Shuffle them up, flip them over, write out the structure, the group the side chain goes into, the three letter and the single letter abbreviation. After a while, they'll just get into your brain and not just by memorization.
I had to memorize them during biochem. I did that by looking at flashcards with the name on the front and the structure on the back.
For the MCAT I seperated them into groups...polar..nonpolar...hydrophobic..etc.
then I took the first letter of each amino acid in each of those groups and tried to make a word out of it...like MPP did
Moss, I have a cool mnemonic (spelling?) for that. I will try to PM it to you once I find it! I know where it is, I just need time to pull it out and do it. First, tell me if you want it still....the above are good ways of remembering it too.
Tweetie I just sent ya a PM sorry my computer froze.
I wrote the MCAT in Aug 2000 (gawd.. seems like eternity ago). I don't even remember having amino acid related questions on it...